The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23, ESV
Psalm 23, one of the most beloved Psalms, is powerful because of the hope that is communicated within these words of David. It is honest in how it looks at the risks and dangers that we all will face in life, yet, it still conveys hope in the promise of God. We don’t worship a God that puts events into motion and leaves, but a very active and available God. Yet, we are not insulated from the evil that is around us. One may think that God is negligent because He allows for bad things to happen. Sadly, this causes many to pull away from God, particularly in difficult times. What I see, however, is the mercy that God shows. We judge by the evil we see, but it is the evil that we are often blind to that reveals the fullness of God’s mercy. That evil is the sin within us. For God, there is no differentiation of sin. All sin is a mortal sin and is deserving of death. Unlike us, God doesn’t excuse little sins. That is our nature. Let’s use a lie as an example. We like to say that there are white lies and half-truths as if they are better than an outright lies or deception. A lie is a lie. A sin is a sin. God knows this of us, but in David’s words, we are reminded of our Lord’s mercy. God offers us correction. He doesn’t hide us from our enemies but seeks to restore relationships. He cleanses us and renews us, and prepares a place for us. Our God is caring, and His mercy is never-ending. In Him, we see our lack and His providence. We see His preparation and His restoration. In life, we have no fear of death because we know that in life and in death, our Lord is there for us. In Him lies our peace, our hope, and our salvation. Our God is our Good Shepherd, and He knows us by name. Listen for His call.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.